Published on : Thursday, September 18, 2014
Tourists traveling in search of an authentic, cultural experience, who have previously fallen victim to tourist traps, can now get the full scoop on the best ways to travel like a local. Priceline.com, a leader in online and mobile travel and part of The Priceline Group, released its 2014 Tourist Report Card, uncovering the latest in the ongoing “saga” between tourists and locals.
According to the study, nearly all tourists think they blend in well, while 94 percent of locals admit they can at least sometimes spot a tourist just by looking at them. However, while locals know tourists can be guilty of cliches and stereotypes, 84 percent still say they find tourists more friendly than annoying.
“At priceline.com, we’re committed to understanding travel trends and traveler needs and preferences,” said Chris Soder, priceline.com CEO. “To get the full picture of what our customers want, we strive to ground our services and product innovation in research. That’s one of the reasons we conducted the ’2014 Tourist Report Card’ study-to monitor the shifting travel attitudes, perceptions and behaviors of consumers.”
Priceline.com’s new study exposes tourists’ secrets to blending in, locals’ biggest tourist pet peeves, and the most and least welcoming big-city destinations in the U.S., among other key findings, including:
Tourists (15%) identified Anthony Bourdain as a top travel icon, and it is clear they have taken note on his skills at immersing himself in the culture and navigating unfamiliar territory. The top ways tourists try to blend in are ordering local dishes and drinks, and traveling by public transportation, but admitted that they are also guilty of certain cliches, such as asking locals for directions (63%) and eating at chain franchises (54%).
An Old-School Approach to Navigation:
In this age of modern technology, many travelers still prefer old-school methods to get around. Nearly half of tourists (42%) still use a print-out map and one in four (25%) tourists use a pocket foldout map for driving directions. However, both tourists and locals still turn to their mobile devices frequently to get directions and discover local grub when traveling and exploring their city. Good thing two-thirds (66%) of tourists have Google Maps at their fingertips, because one in four (24%) have been given incorrect directions by a local.
Love is in the [Vacation] Air:
Tourists are not opposed to sparking up romance with locals while vacationing, as more than one in three (38%) tourists have become smitten over a foreigner with an accent. Over one in three (37%) single tourists say they would love to have a “fling” with a local, and one in five (19%) would put those thoughts into action-actually trying to find a one-night hook-up while on vacation.
Tourist Gear Giveaways:
While more than half (58%) of tourists say they avoid tourist-y gear in order to blend in,locals have spotted tourists wearing clothes with the city’s name on it, fanny packs, and socks with sandals-the latter of which takes the cake as the ugliest traveler fashion accessory. And, the number one tourist giveaway according to locals? Carrying a camera around the neck and taking pictures of everything.
Sunny Destinations Make the Grade:
Among the top 10 travel destinations nationwide, tourists gave Orlando and Las Vegas an ‘A’ grade for being the most-welcoming cities. And, although some stereotypes portray New York City and Los Angeles residents as unfriendly or unwelcoming, eight in 10 residents in both cities overwhelmingly agreed that tourists should not pay more for local attractions.
Room for Improvement:
If locals could give tourists advice, it would be to pay more attention. Across the board from San Francisco to Chicago and New York City, locals agreed that their biggest pet peeve is when tourists do not pay attention to their surroundings. Partying college kids may want to tone things down a notch, too. One in five locals (22%) say the most annoying type of tourist is the intoxicated youth. Despite this, the majority (56%) of locals remain appreciative of tourist’s stimulating their local economies.